Established in 1946, Silverlake remains a family-owned business managed by Allen Prebble, son of the founder, Norman Prebble.
It delivers a range of services to customers, including the collection and disposal of total loss vehicles for motor insurers, the supply of recycled parts to bodyshops, garages and consumers, the collection and disposal of abandoned vehicles for the Police and public sector organisations, salvage auctions and environmentally friendly recycling of End-of-Life Vehicles at its Authorised Treatment Facility.
In 1946 the company had three staff, one recovery truck and worked from the family’s garden shed. Today, Silverlake has 121 staff and is the largest employer for automotive recycling in Hampshire. Operating nationwide from a 10 acre Southampton site, the company runs a fleet of 24 vehicle transporters and six delivery vans. What remains unchanged over the 75 years are the family values placing quality and customer service at the heart of company culture.
Securing a contract with Eagle Star Insurance in 1978 for the recovery and disposal of total loss vehicles was a business milestone, leading the way for more corporate contracts. Collaboration has equally been pivotal to success. Since 2004, Silverlake has been a member of e2e Total Loss Vehicle Management, a nationwide network of progressive salvage and recycling agents servicing the insurance and fleet management industries. In 2015, the company partnered with The Green Parts Specialist to supply recycled parts to insurers, fleet operators and bodyshops.
Allen gained his understanding of the automotive recycling industry from the grassroots up, joining the company at age 16. He became MD three years later, owing to his father’s ill health, having worked in every area of the business and completed a six months’ secondment with a bodyshop. Adopting a progressive approach to developing the business, Allen took inspiration from collaborating with peers in the industry, at home and abroad. John Dyas from Sunbury Salvage was a valuable mentor, and annual conference attendance at the Automotive Recyclers’ Association USA provided international insight. An advocate for industry collaboration, Allen has since become a board member for the British Vehicle Salvage Federation and the e2e network.
Under his stewardship, the company has developed by anticipating market needs and investing for the future. The industry has experienced huge change during Silverlake’s 75 years, driven by regulation and advances in vehicle design and manufacture. That dynamic pace continues with developments in ADAS, autonomous vehicles, electrification of road transport and environmental requirements.
Professionalism and industry standards are critical to customer confidence. In 2020, Silverlake became one of the first automotive recyclers to achieve VRA Certification for its quality graded, warranty assured recycled parts. Demand has grown by 200% since 2018, with supplies of new OEM parts suffering delays due to Covid and the EU Trade Co-operation Agreement. Customers benefit from costs savings of up to 80%, guaranteed speed of delivery and reduced carbon emissions. Growth will continue with the government’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution requiring industry to achieve carbon reduction targets. The 2030 ban on the manufacturing of petrol and diesel vehicles will see recycled parts as the environmentally friendly, cost-effective option for repairing existing fossil fuel vehicles. Anticipating market need, Silverlake has invested in additional parts warehousing, technology to streamline its ordering/inventory system and expanded its delivery fleet.
Fulfilment of customer needs is a priority for Silverlake, which in addition to its own stocks, can source warranty assured recycled parts via its membership of the e2e network. Regional customers seeking recycled parts also benefit from the U-Pick-It self-service facility at the Southampton site, with access to hundreds of cars available for safe dismantling.
Serving the local community
Silverlake is a long-standing stadium sponsor for Eastleigh F.C. and also supports Hampshire based schools, colleges, Fire & Rescue Services, and military bases; supplying vehicles for training and education. Giving back to the community and supporting local charities is a company objective. In 2010, the U-Donate-a-Car scheme was launched to enable motorists selling their vehicle to Silverlake to donate some or all of the value to their chosen charity; with the company handling the administration.
Planning for the future
Recognising its people are central to business growth, cultivating talent remains a priority, investing in developing skillsets for the future. Growth plans include infrastructure investment to scale the sustainable recycled parts solution in line with growing demand. Anticipating the opportunity presented by electric vehicles, Silverlake is investing in EV/HEV capabilities, building a dedicated workshop and is ready for increasing volumes. And, as always, quality and customer service will be integral to company strategy.